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Wasatch County Council considers new RAP tax effort, limits to building on steep slopes

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Wasatch County
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After voters narrowly rejected a RAP tax in Wasatch County last year, Midway and Heber leaders say they may pursue their own. That’s inspired the Wasatch County Council to take a second look at trying again.

Wasatch County’s effort to levy a RAP tax failed by just eight votes last November. It would have charged people an extra penny for every $10 spent in the county, with proceeds going to fund recreation, arts and parks.

Similar efforts succeeded in all other Utah communities that put RAP taxes on the ballot in 2021.

Wasatch County’s population is about 33,000 residents. The county estimated a RAP tax would generate $800,000 in its first year, about half of which would come from visitors.

Earlier this year, officials in Midway decided to seek a city RAP tax in November.

Wasatch County Manager Dustin Grabau said Tuesday that this week, Heber City told the county it too would seek its own RAP tax in November. Heber is the county’s most populous city, with more than 16,000 residents.

With the two cities saying they want their residents to vote on a RAP tax again, the county will revisit the issue during its meeting Wednesday.

The county can either let those cities put their own RAP taxes on the ballot, or it can try again for a countywide tax. Grabau said some county councilors favor another effort.

Other agenda items for Wednesday include a public hearing on an ordinance that would update standards on developing steep slopes. The proposed changes come in response to a recent water quality study.

Grabau said developers are concerned at the prospect of usable land being limited with new restrictions on what’s called slope disturbance. He said the county is trying to balance the impacts of developments in progress with water quality, viewshed and property rights. It may not take action on the topic this week.

The council meeting starts at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the county administration building’s council chambers at 25 North Main Street in Heber. To attend virtually, find a Zoom link here and use password 406937.

To submit public comment, email publiccomment@wasatch.utah.gov.

Michelle, who joined KPCW in 2021, arrived in Utah in 2018 by way of Massachusetts, where the skiing was icy and the mosquitoes formidable. A former daily newspaper reporter and editor (at the Visalia Times-Delta in CA) and columnist (at The Cohasset Mariner in MA), Michelle has been a writer and editor for decades. She holds a journalism degree from CSU Fresno and has worked as a journalist, freelance writer and web content creator, reporting extensively on education and youth along with general assignment and breaking news.